ESNC University Challenge Recognizes Hail Suppression Project

November 10, 2014  - By

© Peter Zentgraf

A hail suppression project dubbed RO-BERTA by the University of Applied Sciences, Rosenheim (Germany), has been selected the winner of the European Satellite Navigation Competition’s (ESNC) University Challenge. Judged by an international expert jury, the University Challenge is a special prize to reward innovative ideas emerging from Europe’s universities.

The Hail Navigator system is designed to reduce damage caused by hail. Based on the premise of suppressing the formation of hail by injecting silver iodide into clouds, Hail Navigator combines navigation with a precipitation reporting system that can guide pilots to optimal locations for hail suppression missions.

The system is complemented by weather observations (including precise times and locations) reported by local citizens via a smartphone app, which aids the validation of weather prediction models. These models constitute an important factor in deciding whether a hail suppression flight is necessary.

The project team was awarded the prize on October 23 in Berlin at the ESNC Awards Ceremony. More than 300 guests attended, representing the top European players in the navigation sector. In addition to cash, the prize includes support through the GNSS Research & Applications Centre of Excellence (GRACE) and a free ticket to the Munich Satellite Navigation Summit 2015.

“Winning this prize once again demonstrates that interdisciplinary cooperation is feasible and successful,” said Project Manager Peter Zentgraf. “The positive feedback the competition provides helps drive our many students to continue their dedicated work, which made it possible to reach our project goals.”

Airbus Space & Defense won the regular ENSC competition.